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Poems from Francis Kerr Young
Grandfather tells the children the story of the Great Flood

This story was read by Grandfather Peter Wright (who reads a lot of the words and stories in the Flag in the Wind Scots Language section)  to his grandchildren Kenzie & Caitlin and you can listen to it here! Note that it's about 15 minutes listening time and around 14Mb download. I'm told that both children enjoyed it! :-)

Click here to listen to this story!

Grandfather Peter Wrightand his grandchildren Kenzie & Caitlin
Peter Wright reading the story to his two grand-daughters Kenzie and Caitlin

Picture taken from Don't Rock The Ark

It was a warm Canadian summer day near the Head-of-the-Lake where Grandfather was sitting in his rocking chair, half-dozing in the late morning sun. The happy cries of children made him sit up straight. The hubbub was being caused by Ashley-Anne and April, his two granddaughters. They scampered up the four steps onto the porch to kiss and hug him.

"Hello Papa!" chorused the two girls.

"An' how's ma favourite gran'weans the day?" asked Papa, his accent just as thick as the day he had sailed from the Broomielaw, some forty years earlier.

"Ah'm fine, Papa!" answered Ashley-Anne, trying to imitate her Grandfather's burr.

"Ye cheeky wee imp, ye!" smiled Grandfather with a mock scolding. "Where were ye the day?"

"We were at church with Daddy!" piped up five-year-old April, pointing to her father as he strolled up the garden path.

"Oh, ye were at the kirk, were ye? So that's why ye're a' dressed up in braw frocks. Tell me, whit did ye learn the day?" asked Papa.

Ashley-Anne, being taller because she was two years older than her sister, looked down into April's sky-blue eyes. Both girls bowed their heads in silence.

"They both fell asleep in church," Daddy said.

"Oh, so that's why ye're ashamed," said Grandfather. He gazed up to ask, "It must hae been a gey borin' sermon. Whit wis it aboot, Graham?"

"Noah," replied his son.

"Och aye - Noah," smiled Grandfather. "Ye wid hae thocht the minister wid've made yon tale excitin' enough tae keep the bairns wakened."

"Papa, can you tell us the story of Noah?" asked Ashley-Anne.

"Och, Ah suppose Ah could," replied Grandfather, rubbing his chin, his mind trying to recollect hazy Sunday School memories from a distant boyhood. (Although Grandfather was not a regular churchgoer he did have an excellent memory for historical dates). "Jist sit doon there an' tell ye the story as Ah remember it."

"Then I'll help Gran prepare the Sunday dinner," said Daddy and entered the house.

"Noo, let's see . . . How did it a' begin?" mused Grandfather, peering down with pride at his grandchildren: Ashley-Anne with cobalt blue-grey eyes and spun-gold hair, and April with fiery curls. Both were in pink dresses and bows, alike, yet not alike. "Och aye, Ah mind noo:

"A lang, lang time ago, back afore clocks were invented, somewhere oot in the Middle East, near Eden or wis it Aden? There wis a time when a' the folk were bad, so bad, that they were wicked. An' the wicked things they did wis terrible, so terrible that Ah cannae tell ye whit they did. Bit it wis worse than pickin' yer nose an' dichtin' it oan yer breeks!

"Noo, The Lord God Almighty wisnae too happy aboot these folk, so he disguised Himself like a regular man an' walked through the touns an' cities lookin' for somebody that was still guid. He knew that if ony guid person saw Him, He wid be recognised.

"Months went by an' still naebody showed ony interest in The Lord. He wis strollin' through a forest o' gopher trees yin day thinkin' aboot His Problem: Should He zap the Earth an' start a' ower again or should jist get rid o' the bad folk. Suddenly He found this auld guy kneelin' at His Feet.

"'Noah!' He says, 'Ye're kneelin' doon afore Me.'

"The man ignored Him an' said, 'Ah'm no' kneelin' doon fur onybody. Ah'm lookin' fur ma glesses. Och, here they are!' He pit oan his spectacles an' squinted up in amazement. 'Oh dear! It's The Lord! Ah'm awfy sorry, Lord!'

"'It's a' richt Noah!' The Lord assured him. "Dinna fash yersel' man! Get up oan yer feet. Tell me, how's the faimly?'

"'Och, jist daein' fine, Lord. Ah canna complain. Ah've mair gran'weans than Ah can coont. Ye've been awfy guid tae me ower the years.' He reached oot an' caught a gran'dochter oan the run, 'Here Jessie, run ower tae the hoose an' tell yer Gran tae pit the kettle oan. Tell her, Himself is here for a visit an' tae pit oot the waddin' cheeny!' As he let the wee lass gang awa', he said: 'Ye'll be stayin' fur a cup o' tea, Lord?"

"At that very meenit, Oor Lord had found the solution tae the problem. He pit His Arm aroon' Noah's shoo'der an' asked him: 'Noah, how dae ye fancy a cruise?'

"A wee while later, efter The Lord an' Noah had a cup o' tea an' a scone, the auld man, he was almost six hunner-year-auld ye ken, spoke up an' said: "'Ye ken, Lord, Ah quite fancy a cruise, bit Ah dinna hae ony money.'"

"'Och man, dinna fash yersel' aboot that," came His Reply. 'It'll be a workin' holiday for ye an' the missus. Ye can tak’ a' yer kids an' their spouses. Aye, an' a' yer gran'weans tae.'

"'Ok. Ah'll get the women tae start packin' an' the lads tae roon' up a' the camels,' said Noah. 'We'll start oot fur the seaside first thing the morra.'

"'Na - na!" protested The Lord. "Ah want ye tae build an Ark richt here.'

"Noo Noah wisnae a man tae argy wi' The Lord although he did point oot that he didna ken how tae build an Ark.

‘That’s aw richt Noah,’ says The Lord. ‘A’ll gie a blueprint. Ah’ve goat a wee bitty experience oan design work.’ He added then telt him tae chap doon enough gopher-wid trees tae build an Ark three hunner cubits lang, fifty cubits broad, an' thirty cubits high."

"What's a cubit, Papa?" asked Ashley-Anne.

"Eh? The distance frae here tae there," replied Grandfather, drawing a finger from his elbow, along his forearm to his fingertips. He continued his story.

"It took a' the men a while tae build the Ark. An' a' this while the women collected puffed wheat an' ither cereals, alang wi' fruit tae make jam fur jeelly pieces. They made lots o' biscuits 'n' pies 'n' things for the journey.

"As the Ark was beginnin' tae take shape, folk wid come frae a nearby toun tae laugh at them. 'Whit's this?' they wid shout an' pint, 'Kilncadzow dry docks?' Bit Noah an' his faimly jist ignored them. They wid be laughin' oan the ither side o' their faces afore lang.

"Finally the big day came an' the Ark wis feenished. Noah's second auldest lad wis jist hammerin' in the last nail when The Almighty appeared. He walked roon' the craft, strolled up the ramp oan the side, an' climbed up the three decks tae hae a look at the skylight oan the tap deck. There wis a strong smell o' tor because the hale vessel hid been coated, inside an' oot, wi' pitch - as per The Lord's Instructions.

"'You an' yer lads ha' done a rare joab Noah,' said The Lord. 'Noo, Ah'd like ye tae gether up a' the animals oan this list an' pit them in the stalls provided in the Ark. Ye'll hiv tae collect yin male an' yin female o' each kind, except for the clean animals. Sheep, kye, chickens, an' the like. Ye'll need fourteen o' each - seevin male an' seevin female. Oh aye, an' the pigs will hiv tae be kosher. An' anither thing, afore Ah forget, hae a couple o' yer lads bag up a' the gopher-wid sawdust an' shavin's. It'll came in handy for beddin' doon the beasts oan the trip. Ah see ye've been storin' grub for yersel's oan the voyage, dae the same for the animals. Ah'll be back aboot the middle o' February tae see how ye're gettin' oan.'

"An' sure enough, oan the seventeenth o' February in the year 2348 BC, The Lord showed up tae see if Noah wis ready.

"'Weel done Noah! Are ye a' set for a sail doon the watter?' asked The Almighty.

"'Aye, jist aboot Lord,' replied Noah. 'There's jist a few odds an' ends tae tidy up.'

"A week later, Noah, his faimly, an' a' the animals, wis packed up shipshape an' ready for the voyage. He scratched his beard an' stared aff intae the distance. Big black clouds were scuddin' in frae the Cairngorms. 'It looks like we're in for a shoo'er o' rain,' he forecasted, addin': 'Ah gled Ah dinnae come frae Fife!'

"'Aye,' The Lord said in agreement. "There's goin' tae be a puckle o' rain a'richt. Noah, ye'd better nip up the gangway the noo, an' Ah'll snib the door for ye. Bon voyage!'

"The big door oan the side o' The Ark was slammed shut jist as the first giant raindraps came splatterin' doon when The Almighty left in a great big bolt o' lightnin'.

"Some time later Noah could hear somebody batterin' oan the ootside o' The Ark, so he goat oot his umbrella an' went up oan deck. He looked doon tae see some folk standin' waist deep in rain watter an' hammerin' oan the keel.

"'Here youse!' he shouted. 'Stoap that bangin' oan this boat. Ye micht dae some damage!'

"'Can ye take us oan board?' a man shouted up at Noah.

"'Sure,' replied Noah. 'Dae ye hae a ticket?'

"The man shook his heid.

"'Well, ye cannae get oan board athoot a ticket!" Noah yelled through the peals o' thunder.

"'How dae Ah get a ticket?' the man hailed back.

"'Jist ask The Lord, He'll gie ye yin.'

"'Och, we dinna speak tae The Lord,' answered the man. 'We dinna hae time for Him!'

"'Then ye dinna hae a prayer!' scoffed Noah, an' went back doon ablow for a bowl o' hoat parritch.

"The rain kept teemin' doon an' it wisna lang until the Ark began tae float away."

"What happened to the people that didn't get on the Ark, Papa?" asked Ashley-Anne.

"Oh - eh - " hedged Grandfather. "They jist went fur a dook doon the Clyde . . . Onywey, oan wi' the story!" he continued: "Well, the rain wis tae pelt doon for forty days an' nichts. The wind wis howlin' a' that time. Lightnin' could be seen flashin' past the skylight windy, an' thunder boomed like cannon fire. The Ark bobbed oan giant waves, up an' doon, up an' doon, jist like a cork. Bit the Ark didnae leak.

"Aboot a fortnicht efter they had floated away, a' the ewes birthed twa lambs each. That worked oot tae . . . Let's see noo - " Grandfather counted on his fingers.

"Fourteen, Papa!" laughed Ashley-Anne who had learned her two-times table at school.

"That's richt!" agreed Grandfather. "Ye're a clever wee lassie! Ye'll hae tae show April here how tae coont when she's aulder.

"So oan wi' the story: A' the wee boys an' lassies weren't as feart onymair 'cause they had wee lambs tae cuddle an' play wi'. Oan the twinty-eighth o' March, the rain finally stoapped, bit the waves were still awfy big. Noo there wis nae plug hole tae drain a’ yon watter awa’. So the sun heated it up an' made it intae big white fluffy clouds. Bit the air was awfy foggy while this wis happenin’ - jist like a Glesga steamie. They drifted for anither forty days until it cleared, an' by the seventeenth o' July, the Ark cam' tae rest oan a mountain. Since it was the middle o' summer, a' the sheep were pechin' frae the heat so Noah had them a' sheared. The fleeces were made intae winter jaickets which were named efter the mountain the Ark rested oan: Mount Anorak!

"By the first o' October, ither mountains could be seen, an' forty days later, Noah decided tae let go a craw, or wis it a raven? Whitever - it flew for a couple o’ miles an’ suddenly sterted shakin’ its heid bit kept oan fleein’ until the watters receded. Tae this very day, a’ the craws frae Ponfeigh flee backwards tae keep the stour oot o’ their e’en.

"Then Noah sent oot a cushy doo. The doo couldna find a place tae land so it flew back tae its dookie in the Ark. A week later, oan the mornin' o' November the seventeenth, Noah sent the cushy doo awa’ again an' it came back that nicht wi' an olive leaf in its beak. Noah kent that the watter wis goin' doon for sure. Anither week went by an' he set the doo free again, bit this time, it didna come back.

"Oan Ne'erday, Noah took the watterproof tarp aff the upper deck. There wis still a lot o' watter left so they a' had anither six or seven weeks tae wait. The big day came oan the twinty-seventh o' February, 2347 BC. The Earth wis dry an' the sun wis shinin', when Noah an' his faimly daun’erd oot the Ark. Steppin’ very carefully ahent the kye, an’ a' the animals, they herded in front o' them, an’ headed oan doon the mountain tae live happily ever efter . . . Well, at least until Exodus!"

"Supper's ready!" Gran shouted, tapping on the window.

Grandfather arose from his rocking chair and toddled towards the door, followed by a barrage of questions from the two children.

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